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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/22/2022 in all areas

  1. Just got back today from our first cruise ever on Oasis of the Seas, and it was hands down THE BEST vacation we've taken. Thanks to Matt, all his videos I watched, and all the advice from everyone here, we were fully prepared for everything.
    25 points
  2. I want to read the post and understand, but it’s a giant wall of text. Paragraphs would help.
    25 points
  3. He had a high fever and started coughing. I brought tests from home. Tested him and self reported it to the cruise line. Wanted to do the right thing by reporting it and trying to make sure no one else got it from us.
    23 points
  4. Matt

    Competitors

    Include gratuities with the cruise fare
    21 points
  5. Hi all! My boyfriend and i will be leaving Friday for a three day on Independence! i am SO EXCITED. I've only been on one cruise about 20 years ago - so this is huge for me! it's also our first real trip together!!! (Had a few road trips here and there). No questions - just ridiculously excited and ready for a well deserved vacation!
    20 points
  6. I just got my negative test result —so I am officially going on vacation! This will be my first solo cruise and first non-DCL ship, and I was hoping it might be worth a live blog even though my oceanview balcony cabin will be sub-cosmic class. About me: 37, Boston, Director of Operations for an environmental nonprofit; unrepentant overpacker, recovering overplanner, extreme introvert. My bag has been packed for almost two weeks. About my trip: Many firsts—First Royal cruise, first cruise since the shutdown, first solo cruise. I’ve never stepped onto a ship without my 9yo and currently-becoming-ex-husband before! He and I are still on good terms, and had initially planned an April ’22 post-separation sailing for the three of us in a 2-bedroom suite on Freedom—we had an overwater cabana booked and everything!—but he canceled right before final payment because he was spooked about getting on a ship in These Dark Times. He ended up taking our kid on a land-based trip to FL without me, and I decided on what would have been our embarkation day to YOLO Book It and have a solo adventure. (Having only sailed DCL before, even with the single supplement, DBP, UDP, and Voom I’m beside myself over how little I’m paying for this. ) This will also be the first time I’ve not had to fly to get to the port—I decided to try out First Class on the Amtrak Acela between Boston and Newark Penn Station. I’m leaving Boston tomorrow (Saturday) morning, and I’ll spend the night at the DoubleTree by Hilton that’s next to the train station. The question of the moment: how am I supposed to get any work done today?!
    15 points
  7. Leroyr55

    Symphony of the seas

    Been on board this week. Heard there was around 5400 on board. Absolutely no complaints for this cruise. The crew have been fantastic and all meals in main dining and and one night in Hooked were great. Shows were Hiro,Flight,1977,Randy Cabral and two comedians. With that said this ship is back!
    15 points
  8. Traveling Mike

    Just for Me

    Lessons Learned I am going to add a list of my lessons learned here so you do not have to read through all my random postings you do not care about. Don't forget toothpaste or hair conditioner. This lesson cost me $8 for toothpaste and $15 for hair conditioner Don't leave any kind of medication at home. I left my over-the-counter allergy medicine at home and found out they no longer carry it on the ship. If you need any kind of medicine, aspirin, binadrill ... you have to talk to the doctor on the ship and get it from them. They want to test you for Covid before treating you sniffles for setting in the casino and getting a snoot full of cigarette smoke. Ocean View on a Trans-Atlantic does not do much good. The window stays wet and gets dirty after two days so it is not usable. Lucky they gave it to me with a free upgrade. You don't have to eat every meal and have 4 or 5 courses. I am doing great with No Bread, no appetizer and no desert. You can take desert back to your room. I do not want to stuff at dinner so if there is a desert that looks really good I get it to go. I take it to the cabin and have it for a snack before bed. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I am very sorry... I am writing this for my enjoyment. If you want to follow that would be OK and you might enjoy it also... just do not expect too much. I am going on the Vision of the Seas on Friday April 29, 2022. We are doing a 14-day Trans-Atlantic Cruise going through the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean and ending up in Barcelona. I have been trying to pack for the last 3 days but my dog, Jupiter, is making it very hard. Every time he sees the suitcase he gets upset and shows me he is mad at me. Jupiter remembers the suitcase and knows it means I will be gone for a longer time, and he does not like that. The younger dog, Pluto, does not remember the suitcase or does not care. For now, I just have to get everything ready and will pull out the suitcase tomorrow night and pack everything at once. So, to end up tonight I will post something about me. Introduction: Name: Michael, Mike, Traveling Mike, Dad, Coach. Age: 61 … Still trying to figure out if I am old enough for the adults table at Thanksgiving Hometown: Fresno California … Hopefully soon I can same I am from the world traveling. Traveling With: Solo... I have been a single father for 24 years traveling with my son and now he stays at home and works so my traveling partner is myself now. Occupation: I spent 16 years driving truck, went back to school and now I drive a Computer (computer programmer for a school district) Spare Time: I coach water polo. I coach elementary kids and high school varsity Cruising Experience: as close as I can figure I have been on 20 cruises (5 with 1st wife, 12 with my son & 5 solo) (5 Disney, 6 Carnival, 2 RCL, 4 NCL, 3 Princes, 2 Celebrity) I know this is not much but don't worry I will be like a bad penny and my posts will keep showing up here.
    15 points
  9. You don't have to look very far these days to see staffing shortages in many aspects of life. The hospital where my mother was had nursing shortages. Then when she finally got back to a nursing home they had support worker shortages. There are crew shortages with airlines leading to cancellations and delays. While in Vancouver we heard of crew shortages on the BC Ferry systems. You show up and no ferry today or they have a skeleton crew and the food venues are all closed for lengthy ferry rides. Amtrak has crew shortages. A bar I visit has employee shortages some days. It's everywhere so the only surprise is that people are surprised there are cruise crew shortages, like somehow cruise lines should be exempt from the shortages that are hitting so many businesses.
    14 points
  10. To be fair, these kinds of logistics issues (lack of staffing/supply chain failures) are lagging affectors and add to that, a COVID uptick (whether real or contrived) and you have a mess. It is extremely difficult (impossible ?) for Royal to make a timely adjustment to a ship that has already been pretty much sold out. Their only option would be to cancel existing reservations and NOBODY wants to be caught up in that ! Did Royal ramp up passenger density too quickly ? Probably. But it will take time to "fix" that and by then, who knows what the situation might be. Kind of a catch-22.
    14 points
  11. Near the harbor I spotted some Eagles in the trees so naturally I had to stop and take some photos. This stop threw off my timing and it started to rain down pretty good. Fortunately I had my raincoat on but the last five minutes of this walk was pretty miserable. Totally worth it to get some nice Eagle photos.
    14 points
  12. Hi, everyone! First time blogging here but long time Royal Caribbean traveler. So excited to be back to cruising. My husband and I went on Freedom of the Seas in November after he spent a very long year recovering from Covid. I was on the Odyssey in March and had a wonderful time on my first solo cruise. Headed to the Allure on Saturday for an eight night trip to Aruba, Curaçao, and Labadee. First time visiting all of those ports. Third time on the Allure, although it’s been over 10 years since I was last there. My kids were little back then and we loved every minute of that cruise! They especially loved the rock climbing wall and Flowrider. My husband doesn’t want to take time off from work right now and he’s not an avid cruiser like I am, so I am embarking on some solo cruises this year. Let me just say this solo cruising thing is a weird paradox for me. I’m very introverted and can get a little uncomfortable in certain situations by myself, such as staying in a hotel room by myself or riding in a taxi cab alone. I mean it’s not that big of a deal, I would just rather not do those things by myself. I’m fine with solo cruising though, and I just love everything about being on these beautiful cruise ships and experiencing all they have to offer. Not to mention lying by the pool and looking out at the beautiful water and all of the lovely locations we visit. On my first solo cruise on the Odyssey a few months ago, we went to Cozumel and Costa Maya. I did not get off the ship. There was nothing there I really particularly wanted to see, and I spent both of those days by the pool watching movies and looking out at the people snorkeling on a beach nearby. It was lovely. I spent that cruise disconnecting and relaxing and really just enjoying the moment. Some solo cruisers are interested in meet and greets and making friends and connections. I wouldn’t call myself anti-social, but I’m not looking to find friends on this cruise or advertise that I’m traveling alone. I am just not that outgoing. I intend to go and enjoy the entertainment in the venues and my first time ever boardwalk balcony. I’m looking forward to being able to see the aqua theater from my balcony as well as people zip-lining overhead, and people walking around down below and riding the carousel and things like that. I consider myself an active person and I will be rock climbing, swimming, hitting the gym and the walking/running track, tracking down all of the small wonders, doing the scavenger hunts, things like that. I’m planning to get off the ship in all of the ports and explore. I have a paid excursion in Curacao to go see the caves and the historic district. I also have an all-day pass on the Alpine coaster on Labadee! I debated long and hard about doing the dragons fire zip lining experience, but decided I didn’t want to spend that much time tied up with that one event. But who knows, if there are spots still left at the last minute, I may change my mind! I took my Covid test this morning live on the phone with EMed and passed. Packing my bags now and full of excitement! Looking forward to great food, hopefully beautiful weather, new adventures, lots of photos and video (I’m breaking in a new GoPro!) relaxation, shows, and beautiful Allure of the Seas!
    13 points
  13. You’ll see full-face masks for sale online that incorporate the snorkel into them. These sound tempting. Do. Not. Buy. One. I’m a diver (SCUBA) and have never seen so many people having issues. 4 couples on my boat had brand new full-face masks and every one of them had issues. The snorkel itself can be connected with the ball valve vent facing front or rear. All 4 couples had the snorkel on backward. Meaning: you can be face down and not get air when you expect to. The mask WILL fog up. You’re exhaling into the mask instead of directly from your mouth through the snorkel. This is also unnecessary work breathing-wise. You have to move more air to get the same result. Clearing a fogged traditional (eyes and nose) mask is a 1-2 second job. Just get a little water in it and pop it right back on after tilting it to let the water out. The full face mask folks were struggling the entire time, with most choosing to swap out for an operator-supplied mask and snorkel. I'd ban these things if I could. It's the closest to safety issues I've seen in the water in a long time. If you do get one, make sure to try it out in a pool first. Well-tracked data is still scant on these masks, but I wouldn't use one.
    13 points
  14. We are 5000 guests and 1200 staff. That ratio is not normal, right? Today was a great day. Labadee is amazing. Get up early enough to watch the approach and eventual docking. So beautiful. I got up to the top deck about 715 as the sun was finishing rising, and the looming mountains approached. It was so beautiful, laid out like that. I gorged at the Windjammer and had enough food to last for the whole day. I felt so guilty that I waddled around the deck five running track for a while, while I waited for the ship to clear and the gangway to open. I had a lot of company out there, including a lady with a walker who was chugging along with great spirit. I really admired that. Be aware there is a LOT of walking from ship to shore, and then to your chosen beach. There are trams to help out once you actually arrive, but getting from ship to shore is a walk. If you need assistance or a wheelchair or anything like that, make sure to arrange it beforehand. It’s not like Coco Cay, where there are trams to take you from the ship to the island. I’m almost positive I heard the cruise director announce there would be golf carts to help people down the pier, but I didn’t see a single one. There was a crush to get off the ship because we were told unexpectedly early that the gangway was open. I think everyone was anxious to get on the beach and grab a really good chair, but there were plenty of chairs to go around and of course a lot of people rented cabanas or things like that. The minute I got off the ship, I realized I left my phone in the room. So I had no way to take pictures without going all the way back up to the 12th floor and that just wasn’t going to happen. But I sure wish I had made the effort. It was a spectacular opportunity to take pictures of the ship. She looks gorgeous and huge, docked there against those bright blue waters. There are some photo ops at the entrance to Labadee as well. we had perfect weather and the beaches were photogenic and the water is just amazingly turquoise blue. Lots of different nooks and beaches to choose from. Watching people zip-line across the ocean on the dragons fire zip line experience was a lot of fun. I could’ve sat there all day. Every group that went by was just whooping and shouting with delight. Two young men that rode the elevator down with me flew by at one point, in the lying down superman position. They were whooping it up! I definitely recommend spending a little time on adrenaline Beach to watch them go. Keep in mind that it takes them a while to get through their safety training, so they won’t be zip lining the minute you get off the ship. I rode the Alpine coaster and it was a lot of fun. I almost wanted to stop the coaster in the middle of the ride and just look at it the views… Such an excellent view of the ship and the ocean. Here’s something I learned on the beach today. When I arrived at Nellie’s Beach, I was looking around to choose a beach chair. An attendant dressed in uniform with a name tag came over and asked me what kind of chair I wanted, shade or sun? He said, “you’re the boss today!” He led me to the perfect chair, dusted it off, and put the umbrella up. Then he stood there, clearly waiting for a tip. Fortunately I had brought a five dollar bill with me so I gave it to him, but that was a surprise because I’ve never been here before. I just assumed this was like Coco cay, where the staff come off the ship and do things on the island and then get back on the ship with you. The employees on the island seem to be independently employed or something like that and are very hungry for tips— and I got the feeling they were kind of competing with each other. There was a lot of eagerness to help people with simple things. I knew that once I started swimming, I wasn’t going to want to ride the alpine coaster, so I left my towels in the chair and went and did that three times in a row. So much fun and I recommend an all day pass. Sidenote, there was a pretty heavy smell of pot at the very top of the coaster where the employees sit around watching over things. And the attendant standing next to the track looked normal on my first trip, and seriously stoned by my third trip. No judgment here, just commenting. Speaking of that—I went up to the pool around 6 o’clock last night and as I passed by the smoking section, the smell of pot hung heavy in the air. I’m not sure if the employees don’t notice, don’t care, or if they’ve just been instructed to leave everybody alone. But that’s the first time I’ve seen pot smoked that blatantly on a cruise ship. Back to Labadee: I did not go to the market because I was afraid of being harassed. I ran into two ladies who had bought a small piece of art and said that they left because the harassment from the vendors was so aggressive they couldn’t take it. I strolled most of the island but I did not tackle the walking trails like I had planned. I pretty much withered in the heat and after a couple of hours I was ready to go. By the way, Nellie’s Beach is the perfect place if you have small kids, or if you want to just rent a beach mat and float around without being pulled out to sea or bumped into by snorkelers. I was back on the ship by lunchtime and lunch choices were quite limited. The main dining room was closed, Sorrento‘s did not open until one, and the solarium bistro is not open for lunch this whole cruise and the park café was closed for lunch today as well. And yes I did eat that giant breakfast, but I still wanted lunch so I had ice cream at Scoops. The pool was mostly empty until about 2 o’clock and the hot tubs, too! I went up there and swam for a while and hit the hot tub and had a great time. I went back to the room and cleaned up and then I had to work for a few hours. So I took my laptop to the library and all four chairs were filled. Then I took it to the card room and found a nice table and set up there. There were some people playing cards nearby and all of a sudden a woman started shouting at her husband to shut up, shut up, shut up. So I got up and left. Yikes. Tons of live music on the promenade tonight and all of it was so great. Observation: The champagne bar is always packed with silver-haired people. And no one else. There was karaoke tonight with an enthusiastic and supportive crowd, and then another comedian in the Amber theater. Side story about the karaoke: I was sitting next to a 70-ish year old couple who seem to be from New York. I grew up in New York and the husband of the couple looked like every dad of every friend I had growing up. He had the accent, the 70’s clothes, the aggressive edge to his voice, he snapped at his wife, the whole 9 yards. So somebody got up and announced they were going to sing “my way“ by Frank Sinatra. The man said “oh no“ and covered up his face. His wife patted his arm and said, “don’t.“ The man kept his face covered while the singer on stage worked his way through the song. When the singer got to the part “for what is a man, what has he got, without himself, he has not,” the guy choked out a sob. He grabbed a napkin and wiped his eyes and cried while his wife patted his arm. So that was that, and after karaoke, I walked around the promenade listening to all the various live music and there was quite a bit of it this evening. All of it’s so good. I tried a virgin Miami Vice and it was delightful! And I found a cruise duck, which is a thing now. All in all, a really wonderful day. I feel like Labadee is well worth a trip to come see.
    13 points
  15. A good book, a real one, with actual pages to turn & heft in my hand. My 2 kids & ok I’ll throw hubby in too. That’s 4 so make it 2 books.
    13 points
  16. Here you go:
    12 points
  17. As Royal Caribbean kicks off the 2022 Alaska cruise season it's time to look North, all the way North... to the Southeast coast. The Southeast coast of Alaska that is. Serenade of the Seas sails from the Canadian port city of Vancouver, British Columbia heading North to Alaska and back, round trip to Vancouver. Itinerary Sun 01May2022 Vancouver, British Columbia - 5:00 PM Boarding Mon 02May2022 Inside Passage - - Cruising Tue 03May2022 Sitka, Alaska 8:00 AM 5:00 PM Docked Wed 04May2022 Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska 5:00 AM 9:00 AM Cruising Wed 04May2022 Juneau, Alaska 12:00 PM 8:00 PM Docked Thu 05May2022 Hubbard Glacier (Cruising) 11:00 AM 2:00 PM Cruising Fri 06May2022 Ketchikan, Alaska 2:00 PM 10:00 PM Docked Sat 07May2022 Cruising - - Cruising Sun 08May2022 Vancouver, British Columbia 7:00 AM - Departure This is an unusual opportunity for Royal Caribbean International in a number of ways. First of all Vancouver roundtrip hasn't always been a Royal Caribbean International offering. Secondly an itinerary that includes sailing by two glaciers on Royal is not common. Thirdly, visiting Hubbard Glacier, the premiere tidewater glacier of Alaska, has traditionally meant sailing a one-way North or South itinerary on Royal. Lastly, sailing into Tracy Arm Fjord has not been offered by Royal in some time, even before the industry shutdown. Admittedly this thread may not be live at all times since the internet when sailing this far North can leave a lot to be desired. This year brings some additional requirements introduced since this cruise departs from another country (Canada) and that means satisfying both CDC requirements since we visit US ports and Canadian requirements since we sail from Canada. Despite the anticipated internet challenges as the cruise sails North I thought it would be helpful to discuss the additional requirements introduced by Canada this year due to the pandemic.
    12 points
  18. We are currently on Symphony on the 1st leg of our B2B. We were waiting for information and direction for our Covid test in preparation for the next leg. Nothing…Crickets!! So we contacted the Suite Concierges, Nadja & Jennie, and asked what needed to be done. We didn’t want to neglect to do what we needed in error. To our complete surprise, we were in formed that B2B guests no longer need to test and that this was the 1st sailing to apply this new rule change!! We were dancin’ in the streets(of Central Park, that is). Whew!! What a relief.
    12 points
  19. I have to be creative to limit this to five. 1A) Pre-Breakfast 1B) Breakfast 1C) Second Breakfast 2A) Elevenses 2B) Lunch 2C) Afternoon Tea 3A) Dinner 3B) Supper 3C) Late Night Snack 4A) Wine 4B) Drink of the Day 4C) Single-Malt 5A) Sunrise 5B) Sunset
    12 points
  20. I’m another that doesn't want soda bundled in. There is a cost and resources to stock it or replenish the fountain machines which themselves require maintenance and frequent cleaning. I don’t drink soda and I don’t want my cruise fare to increase so someone else can drink it free. There are cruise lines like Disney that include it. Naturally DCL cruises cost 3 times as much as Royal. So if it’s important to you sail the lines that bundle the cost into the cruise fare. You pay for it one way or another.
    12 points
  21. From my aft balcony I spotted an Eagle in the trees.
    12 points
  22. Dave and Anne

    Thank you Matt

    We are on Harmony and we want to thank Matt for all of his tips. We watched quite a few of the videos and watched the YouTube/Facebook live videos. Sure makes things easy. Thanks again.
    12 points
  23. We suites snobs all started out this way. It's a sadly progressive condition for which there is no cure. Because misery loves company, I cannot even advise you not to do it ! Don't worry. Your next step (after the JS) will be the full suite and from there, there is absolutely no return. Be afraid....be very afraid....
    12 points
  24. Most likely, but, judging from the prices I've seen in the Cruise Planner the past few months, it's gonna depend on your own personal definition of "SALE".
    11 points
  25. I rarely post but as I am on an upcoming Ovation cruise, I wanted to weigh in. We have only sailed Star since the restart. Our first cruise was lackluster at best. Nothing comparable to a pre-covid Star (which we have also sailed) experience. We are a family of 3, not very needy in the request to Genie experience. What we dealt with was lost bags, poor service and slow wait times. Things everyone deals with. We don’t care about the opinion of folks that sail every week and defend RCL due to Covid. Bottom line up front…we don’t all sail every week. We save thousands, spend thousands to give our families an amazing experience. It is RCLs responsibility to provide customer satisfaction. I do not need to understand I dang thing about their bottom line. They fail…someone will buy their ships and I will still sail. They are a business. I will support the best value for my dollar. Having been disappointed in Star, I can only imagine the disappointment for folks that dont have genies. For all you defenders of this company, You need to look at what keeps the ship afloat. Customer Satisfaction. I am tired of old timers telling me I should lower expectations for the company. They have ended many Covid related programs that protect me. Not to mention, FCC is expiring and Royal spent many months taking those 90 day deposits in the outset. Defend as you will, I am Diamond Plus and ticked. Not about brand loyalty but burned up about old timers telling new folks to expect less. They shouldn’t. Food for thought, my upcoming Ovation cruise will cost 51 per night. Doesnt sound like much until you divide it by 365. That is right. My upcoming cruise, without added excursions, cost 51 per night for an entire year. You are damned right I expect a Royal experience. Us whales keep the fleet afloat.
    11 points
  26. My kids favorite memory of Coco is the first time we were there in a day bed on the old south beach (before the perfect day extravaganza)....it started raining and they were all like "What do we do now" as they watched all the people run out of the water, pack up their crap and leave......it wasn't a thunder storm, so I took them into the water....which was warm, and the chilly rain splashed on their faces while they swam.....20 minutes later it stopped, sun came out...and we were the only people around for the rest of the day.
    11 points
  27. After our time at Hubbard Glacier we started sailing South down the Alaskan coast towards our next stop in Ketchikan. I've always enjoyed this stretch due to the near continuous mountains that line the coast. From my first Alaskan cruise I've always had fond memories of this area. It started with a rainbow. Continuing down the coast there were some clouds between us and the coast but there were these occasional break in the clouds where you could see the mountain ranges that line the coast. There was some not so fair weather between us and Mount Fairweather. There were still whales arounds us. Right after a dinner break I stepped onto my balcony for a crystal clear view of an Orca very close to the ship before I had my camera setup. It didn't stop with that, there were many all around at times. Sunset was just after 8:30pm tonight and here in the open Pacific is was pretty great with some clouds to make it just a little dramatic.
    11 points
  28. Not long after turning inland towards Sitka the seas settled down and it was time for breakfast. One nice attribute of Radiance class is lots of glass such as here in the Schooner Bar where we got our first glimpses of the mountains on the way into Sitka sound. Still pretty rainy at times and overcast yet still very beautiful. During a break in the rain we were treated to some magnificent views.
    11 points
  29. C'mon, USA, get rid of the re-entry test like so many other countries are.
    11 points
  30. Ya, I can relate, I look young for my age but they still ask me for my Medicare card at the hospital. It's real annoying!
    11 points
  31. How was vote held? Ya/Nay on the pool deck? I would have gone ashore. Albeit after many other passengers went first. I mean a cartel member can only carry so many bullets and a cruise ship holds lots of people. Cozumel is not to be missed.
    11 points
  32. get a cocktail as fast as humanly possible
    11 points
  33. Sharla

    Competitors

    There are some really great cruise lines out there, and you'll find a lot of similar things with most of them. Everyone has personal preferences. I think Royal has some great ships and great itineraries, and while they are not perfect by any means they are a great line to sail on. I agree with @Mattabout the gratuities and I wouldn't mind seeing them also add in beverages (at least soda) like many of their competitors do.
    11 points
  34. I agree that room service from the MDR is a wonderful suites' perk....just be aware that the GS does not have an inside dining table. If you order room service you will either have to eat at the "bar" standing up, eat at the coffee table or go outside and eat on the balcony furniture (which may or may not have a regular sized table). I've done all three so you CAN do it, it's just not as convenient and/or romantic as having a nice, comfortable place to sit and eat. IMO the best suites perk for non-O/Q class ships is the suites' breakfast (usually in Chops but may be in Giovanni's). It's also lovely to be able to pop into the Suites' Lounge at any time of the day, and get a nice cup of coffee. Reserved seating at the entertainment venues (if they are doing that again, these days) is also a nice perk b/c you don't have to arrive waaay early to get a seat. Just remember to get there at least 15 minutes before the show starts b/c they will open up the reserved section to non-suites shortly after that. Enjoy the Sweet Life. Congratulations on the awesome upgrade !
    11 points
  35. Hi all, I'm going to try my hand at live blogging this trip. Who's going: Tim (Me) and Kelli (my wife of 17 years!) Cabin: 8330 A1: 2 bedbroom ATS We got our Genie questioner almost 60 days out on 4/13. I won't go over it as it has been covered countless times. We got our Genie email yesterday at 28 days out and our Genie will be Stepan! We responded right away and he already emailed us back this morning and seems like he will be a wonderful Genie! (This is our second star class experience with the first one being on Oasis in December of this past year) He did ask that we prebook Hibachi and Chef's table as he can't request until the day before. I know some have been disappoint by this, but we just went with it and did as requested. We are pretty easy going and this was our list of initial requests. Dining: We are travelling with just the two of us, so no worries about vaccination challenges. We are foodies and love everything so there is nothing we want to avoid I will leave it to you to arrange dinners as you think is best (we are morning people so we prefer earlier dining times), also we do want to do Chef’s table one evening if there is an early seating for that. Again, we will defer to you for everything, we are easy, the only thing we would prefer would be coastal Kitchen on night on after sail away. On Boarding day we would like to do Sabor for lunch Snacks: We love Charcuterie type items or just plain cheese/crackers/salami etc Sushi Fresh fruits Late night we’ve been known to eat pizza/ranger cookies etc lol Beverages: We would love to have Truly (Pineapple/wild berry) heavily stocked in the room fridge and cooler if possible We love Wine and Champagne (I know you can’t stock that, but just for reference. Also I know there is a boarding day bottle and for that we prefer thee Moet Champagne) Blue Moon (with oranges) Coke Zero/Diet Coke Club Soda Tons of water Sugar free red bull Coffee: We would like a standing order of 2 Starbucks Venti blonde/light roast with cream and equal Shows: We have no preference, so will leave with you We are traveling from Houston Texas and plan to fly in to Orlando the day before and stay at the courtyard in Coco Beach. This will be my first try at live blogging, so please bear with me. I will try to keep it entertaining as we like to have a lot of fun and enjoy being in the moment! Here's to hoping the next 27 days go quick
    10 points
  36. Today was a good day. It was also an extremely windy day. Last night the sound of the hangers in the closet swinging around and bumping into each other woke me up a few times, but I went right back to sleep and really didn’t care. (I did take the unused hangers out of the closet today though and laid them on the floor.) The ship has been rocking for a day and a half, the wind is fierce, and the ocean has lots of little whitecaps. I have heard that Aruba is windy and it looks like that will be the case. The ship is still rocking and quivering even now while I type this. Somehow the aqua show still went on and the balancing guys still did their balancing routine, although it was somewhat abbreviated from normal. it was a kind of fragmented day but a good one. I slept late and then went down to the promenade for a “fun fitness class.” I did this on Sunday as well and it was definitely fun and surprisingly challenging. Of course you’re doing your fitness class on the promenade which means the 40 or so people packed into the Cafe Promenade chairs sit back and stare and some even take out their phones and videotape while you’re doing grapevines and claps and squats and all that stuff. But at one point an adorable toddler came out of nowhere and joined in, randomly waving her arms around, and then her dad got into it as well and it was just too cute. I had a very late breakfast at Park Café just as they were closing. I had the Egg McMuffin Panini which we are not supposed to identify as an Egg McMuffin. I got a giant croissant and took it back to my room and stuck it in the refrigerator. I went up to the pool deck and the wind was blowing like crazy. Towels were clipped to chairs but still billowing and flapping in the wind. It was also overcast and I was not interested in swimming at that point. I went back to the room and was able to FaceTime my husband for about an hour and catch up with each other and that was terrific. I rested for a while, sat on the balcony and watched the Aqua theater people have a practice session, walked around the promenade some more, sat out on the boardwalk when the sun came out, and watched people ride the carousel. A bunch of families came racing through the boardwalk and they all had a piece of paper in their hands. There was some kind of organized scavenger hunt going on and part of the quest was to take a picture next to the carousel and a picture next to the hotdog place. I tried to join in a couple of trivia rounds, but apparently you need to get to the Schooner bar a good 30 minutes before trivia starts if you would like to have a chair or even if you would like to stand in the standing room only section and still be able to see and hear the game leader. I got there 15 minutes before it started and it was so packed that I was looking at standing pretty much out on the promenade by myself and straining to hear the questions being called out. I didn’t want to play trivia that bad so I gave up on it. I had dessert for lunch and then got to feeling a little bit lonely and disconnected. This seems to hit me on day three or four of my solo cruises, I am learning. A fleeting loneliness, I guess. I went up deck to the Flowrider to the boogie board section, and sat in the stands and watched everybody learning to use it. It was the perfect pick-me-up. That place was hopping with so much enthusiasm and excited faces and huge smiles and lots of laughter. I mean everyone there was in such high spirits and in a great mood. People would be so incredibly thrilled with themselves when they learned how to stand up on the boogie board on their knees. Every time someone wiped out and went flying they would laugh and laugh. There was lots of fist bumping and high-fiving each other among the riders as well. The families in the stands were taping on their phones and clapping and cheering. It was a really festive atmosphere, the most excited bunch I’ve ever seen around the Flowrider. I stayed an hour and a half soaking up the sun and watching all the good times and I felt much better after that. I went over to have a round of mini golf, but there was a backlog of people on the course and several groups of people sitting around waiting for their turn on the first hole, so I skipped it. At that point it was almost 4 and it’s become a tradition to head over to the Rising Tide bar around then. I get a club soda and ride the bar up and down while I catch up on emails and texts. The Internet signal is a lot better on the promenade than it is in my room. Just the same, I can’t upload pictures here on this page and I can’t send any video clips to my family, it just seems to be too much for the Internet to handle. Later I went back and the mini golf was mostly empty so I tried to play. But every time I set my ball on the ground, the wind would snatch it away and roll it all over the place before I could hit it. There was a lot of people playing ping-pong today, and some kind of really lively basketball competition among a bunch of different three-man teams on the sports deck. There was also a beanbag toss competition, the scavenger hunt, and most of the shops were open all day and evening. Side note: on the pool deck this afternoon, I saw a man with no shirt, tropical print swim shorts, heavy duty wool socks that came up to his knees, and super thick heavy military grade army boots on. There’s a story there somewhere. Did he forget to pack his flip-flops? Is it comfortable in this heat, walking around in those boots? We will never know. A quick nap and it was dinner time. I decided to get to the Windjammer right when it opened so I went up to get in line at 5:50. There was about 150 people in line in front of me with the same idea. But I got in and got a plate of healthy food and took it back to my room and ate on the balcony. I just wasn’t up to fighting the mob in the Windjammer for a table and it was hot and stuffy in there. A tip for new solo cruisers: if you’re going to eat at the buffet, bring a few objects with you to help secure your table. Here’s the thing when you’re by yourself—if you get up to go get seconds or get dessert, you will come back to your table to find it has been cleared and there are new people sitting there. Likewise if you get your drinks first, set those drinks on the table and then go to get your food, same thing. You’ll come back and the table will have been cleared and someone else will have claimed it. So bring a beach bag or a baseball cap or a few things like that, set them across the table, and if possible grab a minute with one of the nearby employees and let them know you’ll be right back, and you should be in good shape. Having those objects on the table indicates you haven’t left yet. The sun came out but the wind picked up even more to the point where the pools were just rippling like crazy and the lifeguard couldn’t keep his hat on. Whenever I was walking through a silent hallway I would hear the walls creaking. After dinner I went to karaoke. Great singing but the crowd was subdued compared to last night. There was a huge crowd of people that had to stand in the doorway to listen because all the chairs were filled up. One of the people performing was a lady I also saw do karaoke on my last solo cruise on the odyssey in March. Small world. After karaoke it was time for Jeff Tracta in the Amber theater. He was SUPER. Absolutely make reservations to go see him and make sure you stick to those reservations because he will sell out and you won’t be able to get in. I think he’s only doing two performances this whole cruise. Every seat in the Amber theater was taken. He’s a singer and actor but he does impressions so all of his act was impersonating different singers and actors and he was just so good. It sounds like nothing special the way I’m describing it, but it really was amazing. I didn’t really know what to expect and didn’t have high hopes but he was just terrific. Then it was time to scurry up to my balcony and eat the croissant I had saved, and watch the aqua show for I think the fourth time? If you’re a fan of the aqua show, a boardwalk balcony near the very end is a great idea. If you’re hoping to be sound asleep before 11 o’clock at night, then a boardwalk balcony is a terrible idea. When I came back to my room this evening, I had a note in my door. It says that they will be doing cleaning and maintenance on balconies starting at 9 AM in the morning so to make sure and keep our curtains closed for privacy. Tomorrow we are in Aruba from 8 AM to 10:30 PM so it will be a good long day and I’m sure people will maximize the opportunity. I’m looking forward to getting off the ship and seeing what I see. I made a request on day one with my room steward to have a printed copy of the daily compass brought to my room each day and that’s been happening, so that’s been great. There just seems to be better information on the printed copy, a more complete picture I guess, then scrolling to selections on your app. But they definitely want you to use that app. The mood on the ship today was high energy and good spirits. Fatigue has not set in yet for us 5000 folks. The high spirits may have had something to do with the fact that today, it seemed like everybody was drinking like there’s no tomorrow. I have a weird observation… And it’s probably just a misconception on my part, but it seems to me that they’re treating ice like it’s a rare commodity on this cruise. It’s hard to find plain old ice to put in your drinks. At the Windjammer, you do not have access to an ice machine like you do on other ships. You simply have access to the grab and go drinks which either don’t have ice in them or have only a few mostly melted shards of ice bobbing on the surface. so I miss not being able to have a glass full of ice and have a really *cold* drink. At the Rising Tide bar each day, I get a very small glass that’s only half full of ice and then a room temperature can of club soda to go with it. Naturally the ice melts almost instantly. One day I went up to the bartender and said could you put more ice in my glass, please? He tipped exactly 3 cubes into my glass with a big flourish, like he was doing something grand. Same experience at Starbucks. It’s a small thing, but I guess going eight days without access to an ice machine might be an issue for some people. I had my club soda at the poolside bar my first day and they were also very sparing with the ice cubes. Weird. on the Odyssey, there was an ice machine next to the water dispenser and you could fill up your cup or portable thermos whenever you want it. Not the case here. I realize these are incredibly trivial things to comment on, but I’m just sharing what’s happening here. anyway, looking forward to tomorrow and I plan on bringing my phone and taking pictures! Like I said, it was a little bit of an up-and-down all over the place kind of day, but it was still a really great day and the evening was just crammed with wonderful entertainment. That has absolutely been the highlight of the cruise so far, the great entertainment.
    10 points
  37. HeWhoWaits

    Staffing Issues Query

    We're all still dealing with changes to cruising that may not match our expectations, which are based on previous experiences without the restrictions required by our current world situation. I'm just happy to be getting onboard Ovation on Friday. If it's "not quite as good as my previous cruises" it will still be a cruise. If the experience is at the same percentage level vs. "normal" expectations as everything else in our lives, we will still have a great trip. It takes ten minutes to get a drink instead of seven? Okay. Fifteen minutes to get that late-night slice at Sorrento's rather than ten? So what? The drive-thru at Taco Bell last night took twenty minutes whereas it usually takes less than ten. That's the current reality we live with.
    10 points
  38. Matt

    Staffing Issues Query

    You wont find it here. Internal staffing strategies and management is not something you're going to find on a third party fan website. Referring to any of Royal Caribbean's job sites, you can see they are actively recruiting. Beyond that, we simply don't know and all we have is conjecture.
    10 points
  39. Arrived at the port at 11:15 and went straight to the 1230 line. Didn’t matter. They were shoveling people through as fast as they could in all lines. No one checked my time and I was on the ship by 1140 wandering around and checking everything out. Did muster drill right away, made show reservations as fast as I could… And they were already selling out… Then a quick lunch. As Matt has said many times in his videos, don’t go to the Windjammer on that first day, like I did! Unbelievably packed. Vitality spa Café was empty, solarium bistro was nearly empty, there are many other choices. Changed into my swimsuit and swam in all three pools. Two people in the first pool, four people in the second pool, absolutely no one else in the third pool. Swam for an hour, soaked in the hot tub alone, found a Casita on the sundeck, which was deserted, and looked out the ocean for a while, watching all the sailboats and windsurfers play. Rooms were ready at one but I didn’t come down till about 230. I have unpacked and organized the room, had a shower, and I’m headed back out for the Sail away party and more exploration . I have reservations for the aqua theater tonight. Found several documents in my room. Sharing these . I love my port-side boardwalk balcony cabin! Great views of people zip lining overhead, the aqua theater, the boardwalk area, the ocean and sky, and of course, people on their balconies across the way. Somebody somewhere gave a tip to bring some clothes pins or clips so that when you go to sleep at night you can pinch the curtains shut and they’ll stay shut in the room will stay dark. So glad I listened and brought along clips because they will definitely be needed. Internet on the Allure is pretty slow compared to Odyssey. Uploading photos is a drawn out process.
    10 points
  40. Psycho and Barb

    set sail pass

    @OCSC Mike, Totally agree. We had a tag torn off one cruise...Talk about a nightmare trying to get our bag. We now only use the plastic tag holders that attach with wire rope.
    10 points
  41. Only one thing I can't live without...My best friend and wife Barb. Everything else I can get by without or buy it.
    10 points
  42. This corner aft balcony has been a fantastic choice. The views have been amazing. I had my 360 camera set up on a telescoping pole capturing a time lapse that I'll upload once I'm on cellular give the large file size but the balcony has been really nice this trip.
    10 points
  43. I've always considered Hubbard Glacier to be one the premier tidewater glaciers in Alaska. Once we past the rain the crowds began to form. The scale of Hubbard Glacier and the mountains behind the glacier make it seem like it takes a long time to approach but that's only because it is pretty massive and farther than it looks. On each side of the entrance to Yakutat Bay are soaring mountains.
    10 points
  44. For some of us, and I would wager many of us, our next cruise is a big deal. My family hasn't been able to take a major vacation since summer of 2019. Not saying we are getting "bent out of shape," but taking certain precautions is prudent. Also, again for some (if not many) of us, a cruise is a sizable investment for rest and relaxation. I know that my family cannot reschedule our cruise should we get Covid and cannot board. I would say take simple precautions such as wearing a N95 mask and limiting exposure. No need to isolate completely (unless transmissions rates are high in your area), but no need to unnecessarily expose yourself to large crowds. You will get plenty of large crowd exposure on the ship. We will be taking preventative measures about 5 days prior to flying out and testing on the morning of the flight.
    10 points
  45. Whales abound. The familiar water spout is a dead giveaway. Not every breath turns into a dive. They seem to go through a cycle of several breaths before going deep.
    10 points
  46. Ha! I like that!….”You’ve been a naughty ship. Now go float in the corner and think about what you did!”
    10 points
  47. Hey all! I thought it would be fun to do a live blog for a short trip on the Oasis this coming week. Quick summary and intros are in order: About us and pre-cruise: It will be myself and best friend Mel, just 2 girls in our early 30s. This was a fairly “last minute” trip as far as cruises go; we booked it a little more than a month ago (mid March) after a quick convo about how we both wanted a short getaway. (^ that’s us in Alaska last summer - fun tidbit, that’s where we are from) I live in central NC now so I will be doing a direct flight from Charlotte to Miami; and Mel will be coming from Atlanta so will be doing a direct from ATL to Miami. We coordinated our flights where we both land around 9-930am Sunday morning to meet at the Miami airport— yeeeep, the morning of. I know all the seasoned cruisers are gasping in anxiousness for us but yes, fingers crossed everything goes as planned. We got the earliest ship boarding at 11:30. This is my 4th cruise ever, my most recent was actually also Oasis in Feb 2019. Mel has been on 7+ but this is her first ever Royal Caribbean (mostly Carnival previously) so I’m really excited for her to experience this ship! I know it has had a revamp since I was on it last. I should also note that this is our first time cruising together. Stateroom, extras, etc: We are average Joes’ and will be staying in an ocean balcony room (deck 7, forward). As far as “add ons;” all we did were internet packages. Went back and forth on the drink package as we both do drink some [alcohol] but the math didn’t really make sense for us (we don’t drink soda or anything other than water really either) so we were okay just paying as we go. FOOD, glorious food: We both LOVE food. I should mention that I am a vegetarian incase that interests anyone else following along. We opted for the late traditional dining (8:00). We chose that over the early 5:30 seating (too early for us) or the My Time Dining because we agreed we like the traditional with same waiter each night and eating late allows us to get in more snacks throughout the day (haha). No major plans for specialty dining ahead of time but we may end up doing something once we are on board if it looks/sounds good and of course based on availability for reservations. Plans, excursions, fun, etc: Neither of us are huge scheduled people while traveling so we are very much along for the ride. In this case, the trip is more about the ship for us. We’ve both been to Costa Maya and it wasnt anything super exciting to us, but we do plan to get off the ship. USUALLY when I’ve cruised I’m with my boyfriend or a smaller group and we go explore on our own or book private tours (outside the cruise company); but being somewhere we aren’t as excited about and being just two girls in our 30s we aren’t feeling as brave so we decided on just paying the $55ish to do a trip to the beach thru Royal as we felt it was simpler and safe that way. We didn’t do a ton of research (again, wignin’ it) and it just sounded simple. Give us sand and beautiful water! As far as fun/entertainment we are interested in catching the Aqua 80s show and then we will see when we’re onboard what other things we may want to check out like comedy shows, etc. We plan to get lots of relaxing time (and hopefully sun) on the pool deck. I hope you all enjoy following along. We are pretty easy going and I plan to share info along the way about packing, the embarkation process, capacity, food, fun, service etc (including pictures of course).
    10 points
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